One of the sensations of last year's opera calendar was the London showing of Dmitri Tcherniakov's revelatory Bolshoi staging of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. His debut at English National Opera with Verdi's Simon Boccanegra is already the most eagerly awaited operatic event of this season.

English bass Brindley Sherratt, who plays Fiesco in the production, talks to Edward Seckerson about a very intense and detailed rehearsal period in which Tcherniakov, a proficient English speaker, communicated mostly through an interpreter in Russian, the better to express the finer nuances of his thinking.

Sherratt, a one time trumpet player turned basso profundo, offers a fascinating insight into this most gifted director's work. He shares, too, some interesting observations about the bass voice itself and the many colours and fachs that exist within it. As to Boccanegra, we are not in 14th century Genoa and let's just say that the crucial 25 year time-lapse has been stretched somewhat. Expect surprises and revelations.

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